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Governors Ball 2014
Photograph: Michael J. Chen

The best outdoor concerts in NYC this summer

We’ve put together a definitive list of this summer’s not-to-be-missed outdoor concerts—just don’t forget the sunscreen

By Andrew Frisicano
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One of the great pleasures of summer is the opportunity to see live outdoor concerts on a sunny June afternoon or a balmy August evening. Dig into our list of this year's summer concerts in NYC, including plentiful offerings from summer music festivals at our favorite NYC parks.

RECOMMENDED: See our guide to concerts in NYC

Outdoor concerts in NYC this summer

COURTNEY BARNETT
Photograph: Chris Shonting

Courtney Barnett + Julien Baker + Vagabon

Music Rock and indie

Melbourne singer-songwriter and guitarist Barnett teams with two other indie stars: Laetitia Tamko of Vagabon and melancholic songsmith Baker. A streak of quiet, lyrical resilience runs through the work of all three, though each artist refracts that quality through her own unique prism. Count on tight performances that showcase the talents of these breakthrough artists.

Trombone Shorty
Photograph: Kirk Edwards

Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue + Galatic + Preservation Hall Jazz Band + New Breed Brass Band

Music Jazz

Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews grew up playing alongside New Orleans' nimblest brass men. Now he's developed into one of the Big Easy's best, playing trumpet and composing, as well as continuing with the ’bone. For all his refinement, his powerhouse band, Orleans Avenue, pumps out the raw grooves for maximum ass-moving. At this Voodoo Threauxdown the group is joined by a legion of funky cohorts including the Meters' Cyril Neville, singer-guitarist Walter “Wolfman” Washington and trumpeter Kermit Ruffins.

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Dark Star Orchestra
Photograph: Courtesy Susan Millman

Dark Star Orchestra

Music Rock and indie

To call Dark Star Orchestra a Grateful Dead tribute band doesn't quite capture the depth of its obsession with the classic outfit. DSO copies its heroes (and recently spin-offs like Jerry Garcia Band) down to the set list. On the road since 1997, the band has surpassed the number of gigs the original Dead itself played, so there's no question as to these guys' road credentials.

Porches
Photograph: Courtesy City Parks Foundation

Porches + Sunflower Bean + Crumb

Music Rock and indie

Recording under the alias of Porches, Aaron Maine has managed to create the musical representation of the shy, awkward teenager in every John Hughes movie. For this triple threat, Porches plays alongside rocking NYC trio Sunflower Bean and the jazzy, grooving up-and-coming quartet Crumb.

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Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Photograph: Courtesy Eva Vermandel

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Music Rock and indie

On its latest album, Luciferian Towers, the Canadian collective channels an orchestral cacophony, layering frantic arrangements of violins, horns and drums with killer riffs. The band patiently builds toward huge musical moments, which should sound absolutely glorious in Brooklyn’s finest green space.

The Breeders
Photograph: Courtesy Chris Glass

The Breeders + Speedy Ortiz

Music Rock and indie

The ’90s indie act still rocks with insouciantly punky cool. Its reunited lineup, with sisters Kim and Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs and Jim Macpherson, plays behind a strong new release, All Nerve, for an entry fee of absolutely zilch.

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CPJF20120825-179Haynes
Photograph: Courtesy Jack Vartoogian

Charlie Parker Jazz Festival

Music Jazz

This year’s edition of the city’s roaming ode to Bird features another boundary-pushing bill, which includes the new lineup of jazz trio the Bad Plus (with Orrin Evans on keys), R&B-inspired trumpeter Keyon Harrold and Adam O’Farrill, the postbopping son of bandleader Arturo (and grandson of the equally legendary Chico).

Looking for more concerts this summer?

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